A new study has found that the Baby Boomer generation is consuming cannabis at a rapidly growing rate. In a new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers found that cannabis use by adults aged 50-64 has doubled in the past decade and cannabis use among adults 65 and older increased sevenfold.
Researchers used responses from 17,608 adults aged 50 and above who completed the 2015 to 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and found nearly nine percent of adults between the ages of 50 to 64 consumed cannabis at least once during the survey year, while three percent of adults over 65 report cannabis consumption. Fifteen percent of the respondents aged 50-64 said that a doctor had prescribed them cannabis and 22.9 percent for those aged 65 or older.
The recent study is compared to a previous study using data form the 2006-2007 survey, in which only 4.5 percent of adults aged 50-64 reported cannabis use and 0.4 percent of adults aged 65 and older reported cannabis use. Another study found that cannabis use among Baby Boomers increased 71.4 percent between 2006 and 2013.
The study also found the Baby Boomers had more overall experience with cannabis as almost all of the adults in the younger age group said they tried cannabis before they were 21, compared to the 54.7 percent of those in the older group.
“Although current users are more likely to be young adults, the Baby Boomer generation is unique as it has had more experience with marijuana compared to any generation preceding them,” NYU’s Dr. Benjamin Han and Dr. Joseph Palamar wrote.
As more states are legalizing cannabis, either for medical use or for recreational purposes, older people are moving away from opioids for pain management and pain relief.
“I get asked more and more by older patients if they should try marijuana, mostly for sleep or pain,” said Dr. Han, who practices geriatric medicine. “Marijuana may be therapeutically useful for a variety of symptoms and medical conditions, but the research in this area is extremely limited.”